July 20, 2024
horseback riding Cambria

Ride a gentle giant at Covell Clydesdale Ranch

Trails rides and tours travel past spectacular views

—Take a trail ride through acres of Monterey pine forest, through pastures of grazing cattle, and along a spectacular ocean view. Covell Clydesdale Ranch in Cambria offers guided trail rides atop their 2000-pound gentle giants. Tara Covell says, “These are gentle and calm horses and easy to ride, you just have to be able-bodied and able to take instructions.” Imagining sitting atop their broad backs can be daunting, but many say it’s the experience of a lifetime.

“The rides are mostly walking,” said Tara, “with some trotting and cantering depending on ability.” Children must be at least seven years old. Helmets are not required but are provided if wanted. Bring your camera!

Other fun includes UTV tours for groups of five or fewer or wagon tours for larger groups. The tours include the history of the ranch and up-close encounters with the pastured Clydesdales. Rancher Ralph Covell, who passed away on February 3, 2023, had raised Clydesdale horses for over 40 years, 23 of those in Cambria. Originally based in Azusa, California, he bred and showed his huge horses throughout the country. His search for more rural space brought his horses and family to a 2000-acre parcel amongst the Monterey pine forest in Cambria. The inspiration to open the ranch to the public came about in 2015 when his daughter, Tara, came up with the idea to offer rides and tours for the public. This business has carried the ranch for years, and is continuing the legacy her father dreamed of for decades!

Covell currently has 50 Clydesdales, a breed of draft horse well known in the United States for representing Budweiser. The large, gentle Clydesdale is named for its origin in the valley of the River Clyde in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Clydesdales were exported to other countries to help with farming. As mechanized farming began replacing the horse the Clydesdale’s population diminished. Today the Clydesdale is bred primarily for show and is considered a vulnerable breed.

Clydesdales weigh between 1800 and 2000 pounds and measure around 18 hands. A hand equals four inches measured from the withers (top of the shoulder) to the bottom of the hoof. One of the horse’s beautiful characteristics is the long silky hair, called feathers, covering the hooves and floating in the air as the horse moves. Another characteristic is the coat colors, ranging from tan, through reddish tan, dark brown to almost black. Many have a blaze of white down the front of their faces. The famous Budweiser Clydesdales are a specific bay color and all markings are closely matched. Budweiser is very particular that their horses match specific conformation standards.

Rates are $140 per person, for the trail rides, and ranch tour costs vary with group size.

Covell’s is open Monday-Saturday by appointment only. Trail rides at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., vehicle tour at noon. To book a ride or tour, text or call (805) 975-7332. For more information visit covellsclydesdaleranch.com or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

—Ruth Ann Angus